Can I Run My Outboard Wide Open?

With the price of what an outboard costs. Most of us are pretty interested in how we can make it last longer. And keep it from harm.

So you might ask yourself, Can I Run My Outboard Wide Open? Yes, outboards are designed and engineered with special oils and mechanics so that they can run at high RPM, including extended periods of wide-open throttle without harming the engine.

Here are a few reasons that you will want to know about and consider when figuring out what RPM to run your boat!

What Is Wide Open & Full Throttle On A Boat?

When you are talking about a boat engine. You will probably hear a couple of terms being thrown around.

Like wide open or wide-open throttle, commonly called WOT. Or full throttle, sticks down, to the pins, trimmed to the teeth.

All this means in the short, is that the engine is spinning as fast as it possibly can.

An outboard engine will come with a specific RPM range that it is supposed to run in. When it is at the maximum amount of RPM.

Part of propping out a boat is to make sure that this range is acquired, which has to do with loading the engine.

Unlike your car, which is designed to run at a lot lower RPM. An outboard and a gasoline boat engine.

Has been designed to run at a much higher RPM. Which brings in the topic of loading the engine.

This basically means that the engine gets up to operating temperature, and is able to burn out carbon deposits that can form in the combustion chamber.

As well as burn up moisture that can build up in the crankcase. If the engine isn’t able to get up to temperature.

But that’s why thermostats are so important and you can learn a lot more about what they do for your engine here!

This is also a video from our youtube channel about propping out a boat. Which explains a little more about this wide-open window.

How Long Can You Run A Boat Wide Open?

Having a specific RPM range that the engine builder wants the engine to run in. Means that they have designed the engine to run in that range.

This means for even long, extended periods of time. So, theoretically, you can run the engine wide open for an endless amount of time!

Obviously, there is a life span to an engine. And you really only get so many hours out of the engine before it just gives up.

Here is another article that we have written here that will teach you some tricks to getting more hours out of your engine!

But this doesn’t mean that you are limited to a specific amount of time that an engine should run wide open.

For the most part, you usually don’t have clean enough water. Or calm enough water. That will allow you to run wide open for that long.

Whether that be on a lake, offshore, or on a river. The water conditions usually control how fast you can run the engine.

This generally equates to having most of the engines life. Being spend at idle and cruising speeds.

Which means that you are probably building up carbon inside the engine. So, it’s actually a really good thing for you to run wide open.

When the water conditions give you the ability to do so. And, for as long as you can!

But usually this is only for maybe an hour or two. Before you get to where you are going, or the whether conditions change.

Can You Run A Boat Wide Open On Muffs?

Boat Pulling to the right

Now, on another note though. When you have the boat out of the water.

And are running the engine on the muffs. (You can learn a lot more about running an engine out of the water in this article here.)

This is a point in time where you DO NOT want to run the engine wide open.

Because when you have the boat in the water. The engine is using the propeller to move the weight of the boat.

This is what is called being “loaded.” The engine is designed to push that weight.

When the boat is out of the water, that means that the engine is unloaded. And you don’t want to run your engine wide open, when it isn’t loaded.

So, no, you should not run your engine wide open on the muffs. If you are in neutral, you will usually also hit what is called a rev limiter.

This unloaded issue, is part of the reason there is a rev limiter built into the engine’s systems.

Which limits how many RPM you can run up to when the engine is in neutral. So, if you engine starts to act funny when you rev it up.

You are hitting your rev limiter!

Boat Over Revving Past Wide Open

Now there are other occasions when you might find the engine is going over wide open and hitting this rev limiter. While out on the water.

When this occurs, it’s usually due to one thing. And it has nothing to do with being able to run the engine at wide open, but it might cause you some concern.

This is usually because the prop hub has spun. And the power of the engine, is spinning the prop shaft so fast. But the prop isn’t spinning.

Or, you might have the engine trimmed up too high out of the water.

Either way, you should feel comfortable now in running your outboard at WOT!

Check Us Out!

We hope that this has helped you understand more about running your outboard at wide-open throttle!

If you have more questions or want to learn more about your boat and its different systems. You should consider joining our Boating Academy where we have created HUNDREDS of video courses teaching you basically everything about your boat!

There are also even more helpful videos on our Youtube channel where we create even more boating videos!

You can also save some money by using our coupons when you need to buy stuff from your boat by using any of these coupons here at Partsvu!

And if you would like to support us to continue bringing you great content, please click the link below to Amazon where we get a commission from anything you are already going to buy! Click Here To Amazon!

Here are some other super helpful articles that you might find interesting!

Aaron Hilligoss

Aaron has been working in the Marine Industry for over a decade and holds certifications for Yamaha and Mercury Marine. It is not uncommon for him to own and be working on at least three different boats at any given point in time!

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